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  • Jan. 16, 2013
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Logan Pearsall Smith means that what makes a work of literature most interesting is what the author implies, not what he or she states outright. This is true because a reader who has to "read between the lines" of a text feels more involved with the characters and their problems. Two works of literature that support this truth are The Crucible by Arthur Miller and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In The Crucible Arthur Miller uses the literary element of internal conflict to show that what is not directly stated in the play is most important. John Proctor is accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, during the 1690's. He is given the choice of signing a confession to go free, or not signing it and hanging for his "crime." Proctor is torn between his desire to live and go home to his farm with his wife Elizabeth, and his desire to be true to himself. He agonizes and signs the confession Judge Danforth has prepared. But when he learns that the signed confession will be hung up for all to see, he tears it up. Miller "whispers" that the good reputation of a man is the most important thing of all. Reverend Hale says life is God's most precious gift, but Proctor's action suggests otherwise. Harper Lee uses the literary element of theme in To Kill a Mockingbird to show that Scout Finch has gained a more adult view of the world. Scout's "coming of age" is hinted at at the end of the book when she agrees that it would be wrong to bring Boo Radley to court for the death of Bob Ewell. Scout says it would be "like shooting a mockingbird," which Atticus taught her was a sin. Boo is reclusive and fragile and would be damaged by the publicity, so Scout goes along with the cover-up. Lee also hints that Scout misjudged Boo as dangerous when she tells her father about a character in a book he reads to her. Stoner's boy was misjudged and chased, but he was "real nice" in...